Tonight I attended the “Global Oneness Banquet” held in the Fourth Floor Programming Room. My intentions were to become more knowledgeable about poverty and hunger awareness. Instead, my eyes were opened to a real life scenario where I had to play the role of a real human being. I was given the role of a man who was fortunate enough to be in the higher class. I sat down at one of three tables that were elegantly set with candles and silverware. I couldn’t help but notice that more than half of the other people in the room were sitting in black chairs, representing the middle class, or sitting on the floor, representing the lower class. I felt extremely awkward because I knew that I was going to be envied by the rest of the room that were not sitting at these “higher class” tables. It seemed that I was going to be given special treatment for the evening, which is exactly what occurred.
After hearing a few people speak and watching clips of people living in poverty, they said it was time for dinner to be distributed. I immediately realized that I was going to be given a “real” dinner, while the people sitting in black chairs and on the floor might not get anything. Thus, I heard one of the women say that the higher class was going to be served first. I saw waiters bringing out glass plates of salad to each of the three higher class tables. After we had been served our appetizer, the people sitting in black chairs were served with water, rice and beans, followed by the people sitting on the floor who were served with the same food and water. I couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable about this situation because as I was enjoying my salad with the higher class, everyone who represented the middle and lower classes had not even been served yet nor would they be served a “higher class” dinner. As I finished my salad, the waiters immediately served us lasagna, followed by a dessert. I tried to have a conversation with someone sitting next to me, but couldn’t help but look at all of the people who seemed to be staring at me and the other higher class people. I felt very awkward making attempts to enjoy all of the food given to me. I felt bad for all of the people who represented the lower and middle classes because they were only given rice, beans and water which was not nearly as good as the meal that I was fortunate enough to receive.
Throughout the entire meal, I felt the emotions that I should on a daily basis. There are millions of people who are malnourished and food insecure. I take many things in life for granted sometimes and don’t realize how fortunate and blessed I am to have a wealthy family, daily meals and a great education. This “Global Oneness Banquet” was an awesome opportunity to reflect on these things that I usually expect, instead of being thankful for in life. As I looked at the people playing the roles of the middle and lower classes, I felt like I was obligated to give them food. This mentality is something that everyone should have on a daily basis because many times people do not realize the amount of poverty that is present right here in the United States. Many people need to be immersed in a poverty stricken environment to truly recognize the needs of the poor. Everyone should be conscious about the less fortunate and be willing to help in any way possible, even the smallest donation can have a large impact.
I think that the “Global Oneness Banquet” related to our current readings “When I Consider How My Light Is Spent” by John Milton, and “Untitled” by Peter Meinke. The poem, “When I Consider How My Light Is Spent”, is about a man who feels like he is unable to do God’s work because of his blindness. God states that just because he is blind does not put him at a disadvantage. This is a true situation for everyone in life who is making an attempt to serve the poor. The only time a person is unable to accomplish something that they strive for is usually when the person says, “I can’t” or “I won’t”. This relates to the message of the “Global Oneness Banquet” because everyone can make a difference in the lives of the poor even if it’s contributing small amounts of money or volunteering in the community. Everyone has the opportunity to serve in the world, no matter his or her situation. The poem, “Untitled”, is about a father who is repenting for all of the problems that he had caused his son. He blames himself for all of his son’s failures in life and regrets being unable to make up for his mistakes. This relates to the “Global Oneness Banquet” because the majority of people who are poor were born into families who were already poor. It is unfortunate that millions of people did not have a choice as to whether or not they would be born into a wealthy family or a poor family. I know that almost all of those parents wish that they were able to give their children the opportunity to strive in life and make a decent income.
The “Global Oneness Banquet” was a very eye-opening experience due to the statistics that were given and the idea behind the event. It gave me better insight on what was considered high, middle, and low classes when it came to national numbers. I thought that it was a brilliant idea to split people up into different social classes in order to get a small grasp on the day-to-day lives of people in the world. Even though I was one of the people who were fortunate enough to be in the higher class, it still showed me that since I do come from a wealthy family, it is important to give back to those who are less fortunate.